MOORE — After missing the past five weeks with an elbow injury, Southmoore’s Serithia Hawkins returned to action Feb. 11 against Westmoore.
Hawkins’ return was supposed to set the SaberCats’ ship right, who had only two wins in past 11 games. But the Jaguars didn’t care. All they wanted to do was beat their rival on their home court.
Behind the clutch play of Callie Palmer, Westmoore came away with 57-55 victory over the SaberCats at Southmoore High. It was the second time this year the teams have come down to the wire. But this time the outcome was in the Jags’ favor.
“It was pretty crazy,” Westmoore guard Ashley Gomez said. “We had to think, going down to those final seconds, de ja vu. But I think we were ready for it this time. We were more confident than we were last time. We were just ready to win.”
Trailing by seven points, the SaberCats got back-to-back layups from Kyeria Hannah and Hawkins to cut Westmoore’s lead to three. But the Jags’ Victoria Lay beat Southmoore down the court for an easy layup to push the advantage back to five.
Hawkins was fouled with 53 seconds left and went to the line. She drained both to get the ‘Cats to within three.
Southmoore forced a turnover and after a mad scramble, Cydni Campbell drained a 3-pointer with 22 seconds on the clock and tied the contest at 55-55.
The Jaguars weren’t done. They had been in this situation before and had learned from past mistakes.
“I was telling the team we had plenty of time to score,” Westmoore coach Andrea Guziec said. “It was tied. We weren’t going to lose this ball game. We are going to go win it. And that we had nothing to lose, just go crash the boards hard.”